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326                  HISTORY OF PERSIA                CHAP.
also by the failure of an attack on Yezd. He had been
obliged by his nobles to recall Ashraf from Kandahar
and to declare him his heir. Moreover, Aman Ulla
Khan had deserted his standard, and though he had
made a pretence of reconciliation it was obviously hollow.
Mahmud, to ease his mind, retired into a vault for the
ascetic contemplation known as Tapassia,1 and after four-
teen days of this existence his mind became totally
The Massacre of the Safavi Princes. — Hitherto the
blood royal had been spared in the awful massacres, but
Mahmud, crediting a false rumour of the flight of Safi
Mirza^ now gave orders for the execution of the entire
royal family except the wretched Husayn. With his own
hands he began this extermination, in which thirty-nine
members of the unfortunate dynasty are stated to have
The Death of Mahmud, A.H. 1137 (1725).—This was
the last recorded act of Mahmud, whose madness in-
creased after his bloody work had been carried through.
The Afghan nobles, threatened with an attack by Tahmasp,
hastily elected Ashraf to the throne, and Mahmud died
shortly afterwards, or possibly was killed by the orders
of Ashraf.
His Appearance and Character.—Krusinski, who un-
doubtedly saw Mahmud, gives the following graphic
description of him : " He was middle siz'd, and pretty
squat: his Face broad, his Nose flattish, his Eyes blue
and squinting a little, his Look fierce. His Physiognomy
had something rough and disagreeable in it, discovering
a Cruelty in his Nature. His neck was so monstrously
short, that his Head seem'd to grow to his Shoulders.
He had scarce any Beard ; and what he had was carotty.
His Eyes were generally down-cast, and he look'd always
as if he was musing.
" He was extremely severe in military Discipline: more
fear'd than belov'd by his Soldiers ; they valued him for
1 Tapassia is a Sanscrit word from tap, worship. It is adopted by the Moslem
Dervishes from the Hindus, and signifies that the spirit temporarily leaves the body
and becomes united with the godhead. There is a chapter in the Shastra on this